Cal/OSHA is the agency charged with enforcing safety standards in our beautiful, golden state. Every employer must establish a safety program which is to be described in a written Illness and Injury Prevention Plan (IIPP). This can sound like an overwhelming task to an already busy business owner. However, Cal/OSHA provides an effective online tool to make the process very easy.
The IIPP is divided into eight sections in which companies need to identify: 1) the person in the organization who is the IIPP administrator, 2) how the company will comply with safety regulations, 3) how the company will communicate the plan to employees, 4) provide an assessment of hazards in the company, 5) describe a plan for how investigations will be conducted in the event of an accident, 6) how hazards will be corrected, 7) how the company will train employees on these processes, and 8) how and where records of this process will be kept.
There are other components of the IIPP that vary by industry. Those in low hazard industries, for example, will also need to provide a Fire Prevention Plan, a Hazard Communication Plan, and an Emergency Action Plan. Those in the agriculture, construction, and other industries where work is done outdoors need to also include a Heat Illness Prevention Plan. include a Heat Illness Prevention Plan.
There are, of course, exceptions to the rule. For example, employers with fewer than 20 employees and in a low-risk industry are permitted to simply identify the person in charge of the safety program, schedule periodic inspections to identify hazards, and train employees on what those hazards are and how to avoid or correct them. Another exception is public government agencies, a group that often gets their own unique set of labor law requirements.
Now, I promised easy, right? Cal/OSHA’s IIPP eTool will walk you through writing your own plan. There are also sample plans available in addition to sample forms and checklists. They even have a free consultation service, which is separate from their enforcement branch, so that you can ask questions and even schedule an on-site visit without any concern of receiving a citation.
The Department of Industrial Relations is the umbrella group over Cal/OSHA and several other labor law agencies. Visit their web site at www.dir.ca.gov/dosh and scroll down to look at the Employers section. There are some useful resources there in addition to the “Develop an injury and illness prevention program” link such as a list of the required postings and information on how to access the free consultation services. This is also where you can discover whether your industry is considered “low hazard,” “high hazard,” or something in between so that you can determine how in-depth your IIPP needs to be.
Providing an Injury and Illness Prevention Plan for your employees is easy and free. Let’s keep our workers safe.